Towards an Open-Source Dutch Speech Recognition System for the Healthcare Domain

Cristian Tejedor-García, Berrie van der Molen, Henk van den Heuvel, Arjan van Hessen, Toine Pieters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


The current largest open-source generic automatic speech recognition (ASR) system for Dutch, Kaldi NL, does not include a domain-specific healthcare jargon in the lexicon. Commercial alternatives (e.g., Google ASR system) are also not suitable for this purpose, not only because of the lexicon issue, but they do not safeguard privacy of sensitive data sufficiently and reliably. These reasons motivate that just a small amount of medical staff employs speech technology in the Netherlands. This paper proposes an innovative ASR training method developed within the Homo Medicinalis (HoMed) project. On the semantic level it specifically targets automatic transcription of doctor-patient consultation recordings with a focus on the use of medicines. In the first stage of HoMed, the Kaldi NL language model (LM) is fine-tuned with lists of Dutch medical terms and transcriptions of Dutch online healthcare news bulletins. Despite the acoustic challenges and linguistic complexity of the domain, we reduced the word error rate (WER) by 5.2%. The proposed method could be employed for ASR domain adaptation to other domains with sensitive and special category data. These promising results allow us to apply this methodology on highly sensitive audiovisual recordings of patient consultations at the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (Nivel).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
EventLanguage Resources and Evaluation Conference - Marseille, France
Duration: 20 Jun 202225 Jun 2022
Conference number: 13


ConferenceLanguage Resources and Evaluation Conference
Abbreviated titleLREC
Internet address


  • speech recognition
  • language modeling
  • domain adaptation
  • healthcare


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